The second movement of Gateway’s vision/mission flows directly out of Loving God. If we have received by faith the love from God in what Christ has done for us in His sacrifcial death and resurrection to forgive us of sins and reconcile us back to God, then we are set free from self-centeredness and we are able to love others.
We are commanded to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Before we can really love other people, we must receive love from God. We must be changed by Him and come to the understanding that we are loved by God not because of what we do, but because of what God has done for us. We can love others because we are people who are loved.
1 John 4:7-12 says,
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Soninto the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
How we love others is dependent upon if we know God and if we have received love from Him. Our love for other people should be like Jesus’ love for us – sacrificial. We see the love of Christ for us through how He laid down His life for us. So we should also lay down our lives for one another, despite our differences. We are to love all people, even our enemies, because this is what Jesus did for us.
At Gateway, we encourage every believer to be in a small group. Our small groups consist of Sunday School classes, LIFE Groups, Wednesday Night Small Groups, and other bible studies. We also have ministry teams where believers learn to work and serve together. We want everyone to be in some type of small group or ministry team so that you will be in relationship with people in ways that you can both give and receive support, love, and encouragement. There should be no isolated Christians! We are called to love one another, serve one another, bear one another’s burdens, care for one another and the list goes on and on. How can we do that if we are not in relationship with other believers? We don’t think you can do that just from coming to a worship service on Sunday morning. We believe that in order to learn to love other people, we have to be in relationship with them and that must happen in smaller settings.
Of course, we also encourage you to love your family, your children, your spouse, and other people that you are in relationship with. Love is sacrificial. Love is not us getting our way and getting our needs met, but rather, it is expressed in each of us laying down our lives for one another, forgiving each other, and giving to one another. When we do that in all of our relationships, God is glorified and the people around us are blessed!